Captain Phasma's backstory

It’s clear to everyone who watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens that Captain Phasma – the chrome-armored First Order officer played by Game of ThronesGwendoline Christie – got the shaft in that movie. And I mean that metaphorically as well as literally: not only was she barely in the film, but the last we saw of the character, she was being unceremoniously dumped into a garbage chute.

We’ll find out how she escaped that unfortunate situation in an upcoming Marvel comic series, but let’s take a quick look at how she came to be such a fierce warrior fighting for the First Order to begin with. A Star Wars novel fills in much of Captain Phasma’s backstory, and a new excerpt has provided us with some insight into Phasma’s origins.

Phasma novel

StarWars.com has published an excerpt from author Delilah S. Dawson‘s forthcoming novel Phasma, which hits shelves on September 1, 2017. (That’s Force Friday II, for the Star Wars diehards among you.) You can read the whole excerpt there, but here are five things about Captain Phasma’s backstory that are worth pointing out.

Phasma’s Home World is a Planet Called Parnassos

Described as “treacherous,” Parnassos is a desolate planet that has fallen far behind when it comes to technology in the galaxy. The planet is covered with rival clans – including the Scyre (Phasma’s clan) and the Claw (her enemy) – who are scavengers, pillaging the wreckage of unfortunate ships that crash-land there for clothes, food, and weapons. There’s a heartbreaking line in the excerpt about Phasma witnessing such a crash, and holding out a bit of hope that the ship is salvageable enough that she can finally leave the planet, where she’s trapped by their lack of technology.

Parnassos Has Ziplines, You Guys

Now this sounds like a place I want to see in a Star Wars movie:

The journey was not easy, for no journeys on Parnassos are. The Scyre territory was mostly spires of black rock, jagged cliffs, ledges, caves, and occasional tide pools when the ocean was at its lowest. Within their accustomed living area, they maintained a series of ziplines, rope bridges, tethers, nets, and hammocks, and even the least nimble Scyre member could get from place to place without too much trouble. But beyond their nesting place, along their border with the Claw, the terrain grew even more dangerous. The bridges weren’t sturdy, and one never knew when a support spike might be rusted through or a stone spire crumbling away to nothing. Phasma’s warriors were lucky that the ship had crashed during a time of low tides, so they were able to traverse the terrain far more easily than if the tides had been high, not to mention that during high tide, the ship might’ve been swallowed by the sea—or a monster in it.

People Apparently Don’t Live Long On This Planet

Possibly due to its harsh terrain and their lack of tech, it sounds like the residents of Parnassos don’t have the longest life expectancy. When Phasma and her clan witness a ship crash, they rush to a jettisoned escape pod and discover that the Claw have already beaten them there.

A cheer went up from the gathered Claw as the first strange figure was dragged to standing on top of the plateau. It was a man, and for Parnassos, he wore very little, just finely woven clothes of a smooth, uniform black and tall, shiny boots speckled with sand. He was the oldest person the Scyre folk had ever seen, with pale-white skin and red hair going gray at the edges.

If someone who’s hair is going gray is the oldest they’ve ever seen, it stands to reason that people don’t survive very long on this desolate world.

Domhnall Gleeson - General Hux

Phasma Was Recruited For The First Order By General Hux’s Father

Domhnall Gleeson‘s General Hux, one of the villains in The Force Awakens, wasn’t the first member of the Hux family that Phasma knew. The book reveals that General Armitage Hux’s father, Brendol Hux, was the man shot down on Parnassos. He addresses the clans gathered at his escape pod and explains that if they help him find his downed spacecraft, he will trade them something Phasma has wanted her whole life – the ability to get off the planet:

“My emergency pod has landed very far from my ship. I have lost several of my own people in this horrible tragedy. But if you are willing to help me, I can offer you the kind of technology and sup­plies that your world has lost. I come from a powerful band called the First Order that brings peace to the galaxy. I am tasked with scouring the stars for the greatest warriors, that they might join our cause. Our people are well cared for and well trained. Ask my soldiers, here. Troopers, is that not so?”

The three soldiers in white nodded and barked, “Yes, sir!”

“Each of these warriors was selected from a distant planet and trained to fight for the First Order. If your people help return us to our ship, I will take whoever wishes to join me back to our fleet. These soldiers will live in glory and wealth, never suffering for want again. Now, who will help me?”

Phasma Wore a Red Mask on Her Home World

The Claw people stood to cheer, but a new figure appeared beside Brendol Hux, a warrior wearing a fierce red mask.

“I am Phasma, and I am the greatest warrior of Parnassos.” Re­moving her mask, Phasma faced Brendol and waited for the robot to translate. “I will help you find your ship.”

Perhaps that’s why she keeps a streak of red on her trooper uniform – a potential callback to her red mask to remind her of where she came from.

While this excerpt takes place strictly in the past, we know from a previous report that the book as a whole cuts back and forth between the present and the past, so there’s much more to be learned about Phasma and her current whereabouts. Here’s hoping writer/director Rian Johnson gives her more to do in The Last Jedi than she had in The Force Awakens. It’d be a shame to waste such a cool character for two movies in a row.

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